International student, Juliet McFadden hopes to educate students on university policies and environmental issues, and host regular SU events in collaboration with societies.
Final year German and Politics student, Juliet McFadden is running for the position of Students’ Union President. McFadden is promising to promote engagement with students and the SU. “We need to be lecture addressing, we need lecturers to inform students about what the union does. We need to ask societies to talk about the union and collaborate with them.” As an international student, McFadden does not feel that she will be unable to represent the interests of the entire student population, “I don’t think it should be an issue, if anything it’s a benefit. I have the benefit of fresh eyes coming in.”
McFadden campaigned for UCD SU to remain separate from USI, and says, “it doesn’t prevent us from working with the USI, but I think it’s best if our union to stay out of it and focus on internal issues. That’s not to say in a couple of years we might want to revisit it.”
Running with the slogan: “It’s time for less talk and more action,” McFadden is focused on the “student experience.” However, McFadden’s knowledge of the boards the SU president sits on is lacking.
The hosting of more SU events features prominently in McFadden’s manifesto. When asked about how she intends to host more regular events, she replies, “I think the focus has to be holding weather-appropriate events, not holding events outside in February and March. Instead to be having things in Astra Hall and the other big rooms, utilising the bar to hold events and collaborating with societies so that we can achieve that.” She further explains her intentions to reach out to students with disabilities, “one small and easy step we can be doing is putting on our Facebook posts, putting on our posters, putting on our websites when we’re holding an event, if you have a disability, we are going to be disability friendly. We’ll have accommodations for you, and if you have a worry about it, you can send us a message, and we’ll help you.”
“Whether it’s holding support groups, for people to know that there are other students going through similar things is really key there.”
Another issue McFadden wants to address as President is to educate students on the Dignity and Respect policy in UCD, mainly “how it works and reporting procedure.” Feeling that students are not aware of this policy when they first enter college, McFadden believes the union should “be educating people on how [they] can take control of their own bodies… and if there are problems in it [the policy] then we need to take a lead in fixing it.” When asked about the procedure for reporting through the Dignity and Respect policy, McFadden answered, “There is online, it gives you a step-by-step, but I’m pretty sure you have to go to the advisors of your faculty and they take it from there. It’s also supposed to be relatively quick, but from what I’ve heard, it can get drawn out. There is a set process that comes from that.” McFadden also stated, “whether it’s holding support groups, for people to know that there are other students going through similar things is really key there.”
In her manifesto, McFadden aims to bring greater awareness of recycling to UCD. She admits that it seems redundant to be educating students on what can and cannot be recycled without the facilities on campus. “It needs to start with greater access to recycling and then an education campaign.” McFadden has tried to contact the campus estate services to inquire about the lack of facilities but had not spoken to the Green Campus committee.
“McFadden is focused on educating students with disabilities and students from disadvantaged backgrounds about the services available to them.”
McFadden is focused on educating students with disabilities and students from disadvantaged backgrounds about the services available to them, especially those who do not qualify for the SUSI grant. “I met with the disability coordinator for the SU, and some of what she was talking about was that students don’t understand that even if you don’t qualify for fee reduction if you have a disability, [that] doesn’t mean that you are kept out of the Access centre.” McFadden also wants to show under-represented groups of students, such as mature students, “that the union isn’t just for students who are coming in from secondary school.”
A universal problem that students are facing is rising tuition fees. On this subject McFadden wants the union to protest for lower fees and to be “pushing students to think more critically about who they vote for, whether or not their elected representatives support lowering fees. Giving them information they need to make educated decisions that will benefit them.”
As a student living in on campus accommodation, McFadden would like to see more information provided to Residential Assistants (RAs) on mental health and more full-time staff employed by the university, to take the pressure off of RAs. “We’re expecting students to act like counsellors and police and security when they are students and that’s not what they should be doing.”